Sleeves that fit

I’ve asked a lot of knitters “why don’t you knit sweaters for yourself?” Quite often the answer was that the sleeves don’t fit.

It’s easy enough to work out which size to knit according to your bust measurement but it is another thing to also have the correct sleeve size you need, in the same pattern. So …

My “Any Gauge” sweater patterns have a correction for this common problem: the raglan lines are used as a guide only. They indicate the general placement of the sleeves but do not necessarily give the exact width of the sleeve.

In my latest Family Crew Neck, the sleeve size I want, indicated by the orange markers, is a little wider than the raglan lines.

The pattern is set up to do this. Just before The Great Divide, you place the removable markers (orange) on the circular needle at the exact width you need for your sleeves. They can be inside the raglan lines for a narrower sleeve than the raglan lines indicate, exactly at the raglan lines in the usual way, or outside the raglan lines, like this pullover. The stitches between the orange markers are now the sleeve. Here’s a close-up.

I’m not stealing stitches from the body. The body will still be exactly what I need it to be. The pattern is written in a way to allow for all this variation, to fit both your bust and your arms. It’s working for all the pullovers I’ve knit so far, so I’m quite confident it will also work for you.

One more bit of weird knitting just for you. Enjoy.

Deb

Family Crew Neck pullover

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

The Family Crew Neck

The Family Crew Neck pullover is ready to leave home. I’ve hit the publish button so if you’re interested in knitting top down pullovers for every person you know in different weights of yarn, it’s ready to go.

I’m knitting #5 right now. I’ve knit a striped one for my son-in-law, a matching mini-me one for my grandson, a salt & pepper pullover for my son’s girlfriend, a twisted stitch patterned version for my daughter and now, of course, one just one more for my grandson (it’s a grandma thing).

This pattern is a framework for you to play with. There is MATH. Yes, sorry but no getting away from it since it’s for ANY GAUGE of yarn and I don’t know what you’re knitting with. All the body measurements are in inches, which you then multiply by your stitch gauge and voila, stitch numbers, just like that. It’s not hard, really it’s not.

I thought I’d take you on a tour. There may be some weird and wonderful things that are a bit different from top down sweaters you’ve done before. This is a system I’ve devised and used for years.

Here’s the Family Crew Neck . I don’t like picking up stitches, so this pullover begins with the ribbed neckband. It’s all one piece from the beginning. You’ll need a nice stretchy cast on because most neckbands on crew necks are slightly smaller than your head. Do you see me using the magic loop method here? I can learn! It allows for better photos so I’m figuring it out.

Now, work short rows and raglan increases, two things at once. I’m hoping you’re enthusiastic to get going. I always am.

The short rows produce a drop at the front of the neck. The raglan increases are … well, raglan increases. I always think of them in pairs, one before the raglan line marker and one after.

Every Increase Row starts one stitch before the Beginning of Round Marker (yellow) so you can do the pair of increases, one before and one after the marker.

The short rows get longer and longer as they creep down the Front on both sides. The Beginning of Round Marker is at the left front shoulder. A weird place but the short rows work this way.

Still creeping further down the front. Note that the centre front stitches do not get worked until the very end.

And done. Look at that front drop. I love this moment. Do you have moments when you sit back and say ‘just look at that, I did it’?

The tour continues next week with The Great Divide. Another exciting moment, ha, ha, can you stand it?!

Hope you’re having as much fun as I am,

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Dividing yarn for body and sleeve stripes

Working a sweater with big stripes is a great look. If you have tons of yarn available it’s not a problem to get equal sized stripes on the body and the sleeves. I made sure I bought enough. Knitting this prototype for the Any Gauge Family Crew Neck Raglan sweater for my SNL was really fun.

Then I decided to knit a mini-me sweater for my grandson with all the odd balls I had left over. Now I have a limited amount of yarn to work the body and sleeve stripes.

How do you divide your yarn so you’re sure to have enough for the sleeve stripes while you’re working the body? I didn’t want to knit the body sweating about the sleeve stripes. I wanted a nice relaxing knit.

If you have a scale to weigh your yarn and you have decided on the finished size of the sweater, you can follow along. Here is how I did it for my sweater sized for a 1 year old:

Formula: weight of yarn available = body circumference + sleeve circumference + second sleeve circumference.

Now the calculator comes out: Divide the grams of yarn by the total circumference of body and sleeves. This will give you the number of grams of yarn needed to knit once around the body and two sleeves.

Here are the numbers I used with my left-over balls of yarn:

35g of rust colour = 22″ body + 9″ sleeve + 9″ sleeve (1 year size)

35g = 40″ circumference

Divide as follows: 35 divided by 40 = number of grams to knit one round of the body and two sleeves

0.875g of yarn needed for every round of stripes knit

Separate Yarn to use for body and sleeve stripes : OK, now that I have this weird number from the formula I can divide my yarn into enough for the body stripe and 2 equal sized balls for each sleeve stripe:

22″ body x 0.875g = 19.25g of yarn for a body stripe

9″ sleeve x 0.875g = 7.87g of yarn for each sleeve stripe

Weigh out your yarn. Give yourself a safety margin. I wound a ball weighing 18g for the Body stripe. Now I’m sure to have more than enough left for the sleeve stripes.

Once I knew I would have enough for the sleeves I could make a decision on the actual size of the rust stripe, knowing I could mimic it in the sleeves. I didn’t need all 18g for the body stripe I wanted so I ended up with a little left over. Then I knit the sleeve stripes, counting rows so they were the same as the body stripe. This worked out perfectly. At least I think it did.

I am so pleased with the results.

I hope this is helpful, Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free knitting patterns by Deb

Crewneck Pullover short rows

The new pattern I’m working on for a Family Crew Neck Pullover begins by knitting the neckband in the round. This is not the usual way to start a raglan pullover.

Usually you would cast on for the shoulder, back of neck and second shoulder and work back and forth to form the crewneck. You would work your usual raglan increases along with an increase at the beginning and end of the row to form the crewneck angle on the Front. Then cast on some centre front stitches and work your yoke in the round. Pick up the neckband afterwards.

Have you made a pullover that begins like this?

But of course, I am not doing this pullover like that. As my husband would say, “Have you met me?”.

I am starting with the neckband already knit in the round and to form the crewneck front, I’m going to work short rows. Why? Because I love short rows and they work.

Look at that. To me it’s a thing of beauty. I know, it’s a weird designer thing. But I do love looking at this stage in my pullover. The Back is raised. The Front is lowered. And now we’re working in the round for the rest of the yoke.

Now I have a question for you. Here it is with a colour change.

Is the angled edge of the Front with the short rows too messy?

Here’s a close up of both sides. Messy?

I don’t mind it at all but …

Would you like one round of grey knit before starting the short rows? Yes or No?

Thanks. I appreciate your opinion. Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Crewneck Pullover Beginnings

I’m working on one more pullover pattern (Family Crew Neck) before shawl knitting takes over. Summer seems to be more suited to shawls and I understand, snow withstanding, that summer is really on its way.

I have devised several construction systems over my years designing Cabin Fever patterns. These were based on formulas which were then decorated with stitch patterns.

Now I want to present them to you as basic patterns so that you can do the decorating part. I know you can do this. You’ve been knitting for some time so you know a couple stitch patterns that you love. These basic patterns are an ideal place to let them loose on the front, back or sleeves.

The Family Crew Neck Raglan is my next project. I’ve done two prototypes so far. The recipients are very happy with them.

I’ve started on one more so that I can add in all the little bits of advice on keeping track. I have two more on the go so lots to show you coming up.

It’s still cool here so perfect for sweater knitting outside. I hope you are enjoying spring.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Mid-sweater Block

I’m knitting a sweater for my son-in-law (Family Crew Neck) at his request. I was so very pleased to be asked. I have measurements and am ready to go. But this has turned out to be a challenge.

I’m trying out a new-to-me yarn and to be a good little knitter, I knit a swatch. I changed needle sizes twice and now have gauge. I even washed it. Pat on the back, I am being very, very good! I cast on.

Part way through I started to panic. It’s small. I did all the math again and then three more times and as far as I could tell the body is around 2″ smaller than it should be. I kept measuring it over and over, hoping it would be a little bigger each time. Ha, ha, I bet you’ve never done this.

Then the light bulb went on. I have a swatch. I find them somewhat unreliable at the best of times but this time I had one to blame. I measured my gauge on it and then on my sweater and … I had tightened up. This never happens to me. I am a really loose knitter. I was working with needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended to get gauge on my swatch and now I was telling myself that that was a mistake.

Hmmm, I washed my swatch just like I’m supposed to. Ah, ha. Another light bulb moment.

I dumped the whole sweater in the sink, needles attached and all, spun it out in my washing machine and laid it out (nice and neatly, not like this photo) and let it dry.

Voila, it relaxed and although it’s still 1/2″ smaller than I would like, it’s going to be fine. Phew.

I’m on the sleeves right now. I took out 1 round of knitting and started with new yarn. Here’s the difference in gauge. You can see that already the new section of the sleeve has a tighter gauge. I’m trying not to look at it.

Ignore the marker. That was for counting rounds so the sleeve stripe will be the same length as the body stripe.

I’m hoping to get this done this week. I don’t know if that’s possible but I’m giving it my best shot. Audio books, short walks and lots of knitting.

Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck raglan pullover

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cable pullover done

It’s done. Phew. My newest Any Gauge Raglan Pullover was made by taking apart a sweater I wasn’t wearing and turning it into this one. I put it on the day I finished, and the next day, and the one after that. I think I like it. Here’s the requisite bathroom photo.

I don’t know if you can see but I ran out of wool. Yup. I knit this pullover with a much smaller needle than the original sweater. Ouch, just one ball short. So into the stash I went.

I found one ball of orange (on the left) and yes, it doesn’t quite match but … what can you do?!

I got the bottom of the sleeves and the neckband out of it. It’s not perfect but I’m really happy with it. I keep wearing it. That’s the real test. It passed.

Now a pause. I find there is always a very uncomfortable pause after finishing a big project. Do you find that?

I started doodling, otherwise known as charting. And then it got out of hand.

Time to do a clean up I guess.

That’s better but I still have a lot on my mind.

How about you?

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram because you know there’s more knitting going on.

Bust Darts, Top Down

Why are the fronts of women’s sweaters the same width as the back? Aren’t there two very good reasons why there should be a little more room on the front? You could work two different sizes to fix this but it needs quite a bit of fiddling to get it right. There is an easier way.

You need the extra room exactly where you need it, right? You know where. Not in the upper chest and neckline which could happen if you work two different sizes. Not below the bust either.

Here’s one of my solutions. I used on my latest Any Gauge Raglan Pullover. When working Top Down you can add an extra set of stitches to the Front of the Body starting just under the arm, after the Great Divide.

Can you see a faint line coming out of my underarm at an angle? Here, let me highlight it.

It’s not very visible. The increases are worked on every round. Each increase is worked beside the last one, working from the underarm toward the centre of the front. I added 6 extra bust stitches on each side of the Front, worked the rounds straight down past the largest part of my bust and then began working decreases at the sides of the Front every 4 rounds to get rid of some of these stitches (not all of them because, with Covid, the belly is a little larger than before!!).

I used Twin Stitches. They are the stitches used in the Shadow Short Row system which, if you don’t get rid of the double stitches (the twin stitches) as you would when working short rows, these twin stitches can become increases. It’s magic.

Here’s my video to show you how: Bust Dart for Top Down Pullover using TWK

This is how you work a Twin Stitch. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve seen this before. I discovered this while working on the Need A Circular Yoke book. Have you tried this?

Stay safe and keep on keeping on, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram, because you know there’s more knitting going on.

Why don’t I wear this sweater?

Spring has sprung and it’s time to wash and then put away the heavy woollies. As I take out sweater after sweater, I wonder why certain ones never got worn. I liked it when I knit it. I like everything while I’m knitting. I thought at the time I would wear it.  Why didn’t I? Maybe it’s time to find out and do something about it.

Here is one of my Gauge-Free Raglan Pullovers. This was one of the last ones I knit as a sample for the pattern and I took a couple of short cuts or at lease didn’t give it the time and consideration I could have. I pick it up and put it down a lot. I even get as far as putting it on and then take it off. Hmm, I wonder why? It’s time to find out.gauge-free raglan (2)

I like the woolly feel of it. I like the big cable down the front and back and the little cable down the sleeves. It was fun to knit. The fit is fine. It’s totally worth the time and effort to get right. Time to investigate. I put it on one more time. What’s bothering me?IMG_3898

  1. I think it would be more attractive if it was shorter. It feels heavy when it’s on so making it shorter would make it feel lighter.
  2. I think the neck opening looks too wide for me. I would like to fill it in more.
  3. I wish the neckband was raised at the back of neck. I can feel the edge of it lower down on the back of my neck than I would like. Making the neckband wider will help but I think I’ll do some short rows to raise the back of the neck this time.

 

I’m feeling better already. I have a plan. It starts with ripping. I know ripping can be painful but this is in a good cause and seems right.gauge-free raglan (3) Mods

  1.  Rip back to a shorter length. This is knit top down so all I have to do is snip one stitch of the cast off and start ripping until the length seems best and then re-knit the bottom ribbed edge.
  2. Rip out the neckband. Since it was picked up around the neck opening and cast off at the top edge of the neckband, I have another easy rip back.
  3. Use the yarn I took off the bottom of the sweater to reknit the neckband to deeper length with short rows to raise the back of the neck.

Now I’m getting excited. This is sooo going to work.

Do you have some sweaters you need to rework? Have you done this before?

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build a Bigger V

I have been staying at home and working hard, OK not really working hard since how hard can knitting a whole lot be, but my Build a Bigger V is finished, buttons and all. I love it.

build a bigger V (10)
Knit with Hempwol by Hemp For Knitting

I hit the publish button. It’s official, it’s a done deal, the Build a Bigger V is out there. Always a big moment. Now I need to take a walk because hitting that button always gives me the jitters.

If you’re looking for an adventure during these precarious times this cardigan might fill the bill. It starts with stash diving for yarn and needles. Remember that garter stitch takes 1/4 to 1/3 more yarn. Then work the Back and 2 Fronts separately. There is lots of garter stitch knitting which is comforting but not tooooo comforting because you have to work some increases and decreases and work the I-cord edging. Just enough to keep you on your toes.build a bigger V

Pick up and knit along the sides of the Back and one Front. Knit, knit, knit. Separate for the sleeves and knit down to the wrist. Fold it over to see half of your cardigan done.build a bigger V (8)

As I was knitting I kept thinking of different things I might do with this pattern. I couldn’t knit them all but maybe you can. I’ve added Hacker Pages with more options to add to the cardigan. I added the Boxy style where you would add much more ease to the cardigan so that the width of the body reaches your elbow.Build a Bigger V regular width

Build a Bigger V Boxy

How about A-line shaping? I’m knitting this one right now. The Back and Fronts gradually widen toward the bottom.20200222_125900 - Copy

You can also knit it as a Pullover. I love this. Thanks LK. She also worked the Boxy Sloped Shoulder option of working body and sleeve decreases along the top of the sleeve instead of along the underarm seamline. It gives you a sloped shoulder line and really works here.build a bigger V pullover (2)

Build a Bigger V slopped shoulder
Boxy style with shoulder slope

I haven’t included stripes as another option for the Build a Bigger V or 3/4 sleeves which could also be done (my orange version might get these) or colour blocking the different sections or … well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

I’m really excited about this cardigan (can you tell?) and I hope you enjoy it.

Stay well, Deb

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

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